Melton: Former Suffolk Coastal District Council chairman’s drink driving appeal is dismissed at Ipswich Crown Court

Roy Burgon leaving Ipswich magistrates court after being found guilty of drink driving on the same n

Roy Burgon leaving Ipswich magistrates court after being found guilty of drink driving on the same night his partner was also arrested for drink driving. - Credit: Archant

A former council chairman and his partner who were convicted of driving home 50 yards from a social club while drunk have had their appeal dismissed.

Roy Burgon, who was Suffolk Coastal District Council chairman from 1995-96, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday with his partner Mel Arundel to appeal their driving bans.

Prosecutor Robert Sadd said the couple were arrested at their home at South Close, Melton, near Woodbridge, in the early hours of April 20 after driving 50 yards from a nearby social club.

Pc Stephen Griggs said Burgon’s Ford Fiesta and Arundel’s Kia both felt warm when he arrived at their home.

“Mr Burgon answered the door, he was unsteady on his feet I could smell intoxicating liquor on him, his eyes were glazed,” he added. Pc Ben Coombes, who also attended, found Arundel, 54, in the sitting room in her “night attire” speaking with “slurred speech”. Both gave positive breath tests and were arrested.

Burgon and Arundel accepted they had drunk alcohol at the social club, but insisted they were under the limit when they drove.

Arundel said she had “downed a glass of wine” when she got in having been “stressed and anxious” following an encounter with a man in the social club.

Most Read

She told the court that the man had been threatening her because she had fired his friend from the Ipswich care home she ran.

Arundel claimed the man had made the anonymous call to police for “malicious reasons”, which had not been “properly investigated” at the time.

She had told Pc Coombes she had drunk a “bottle and a half” since returning home. But she was unable to identify which bottle she had drunk and the one she was found with was still “almost full”, the court heard.

The mother-of-four said her recollection of events 30 minutes after getting home was “woolly”.

“I can’t be 100% sure about what I drank at home,” she said.

Burgon, 58, was also said to have given differing accounts of his drinking at home. “The conditions were rather alarming and I was muddled,” he explained.

Both appellants’ accounts also conflicted with the expert report on their likely levels of consumption. Judge David Goodin said: “To have achieved that reading, bearing in mind what you said, you must have had more to drink before you got home.”

He said the appeals centred on claims that “insufficient attention” had been placed on the malicious call and that the positive breath test was a result of “post incident consumption”.

Dismissing the first grounds, the judge said the purpose of the anonymous call “did not in any way call into question any part of the prosecution”. And addressing the second, he said the appellants had failed to demonstrate they had consumed the alcohol, which took them over the limit, after their return.

“It is not possible in the circumstances to demonstrate that burden of proof because neither of them is clear of what they’ve consumed,” he said.

Burgon had been banned from driving for 12 months and Arundel for 17 months. They were ordered to pay £624 prosecution costs between them on top of the existing £3,710 in fines.